Coding is sexy.
Men deeply rooted in tech have known that for several years, if not decades, but now idea of coding being an appealing skill to learn is reaching people outside of the tech world—including, finally, women.
At the first-ever HTML500 in Vancouver earlier this month, the open-access education event invited 500 people with no coding experience to spend a day learning HTML and CSS for free—and "well over 50%" of attendees were women, according to organizers, a virtually unprecented figure for this type of event (exceptions, of course, being women-focused programs like Ladies Learning Code). It's fantastic progress for a sector too-long-dominated by men.
According to Lighthouse—the founders of which fled Toronto to try Vancouver on for size and haven't looked back since—the goals of HTML500 were to raise awareness of the strength and size of the local technology community, and bring to light the career opportunities available in the sector. Turns out creating a promising future of women in tech was just icing on the cake.
“The HTML500 is the first step towards advanced tech education for the general public,” explains Jeremy Shaki, event organizer and cofounder at Lighthouse Labs. “It is imperative that we show them, especially students, the advantages and ease of learning to code, regardless of the industry they are part of."
"As software development is instituted in standard curriculums in elementary and secondary schools, this generation of students will need to understand how to code to keep up with the new demands of the workforce," he added.
Lighthouse Labs says its coding school classes are compromised of roughly one-third women.